E-News 4/1/11

1) The Week Just Past: More Jobs, More Energy Sources Needed

2) Contradictions on Libya

3) More Picatinny Help for our Warfighters in Afghanistan

4) SOAR Act Soars

5) Personal News


The Week Just Past: More Jobs, More Energy Sources Needed

“Despite positive hiring news announced this morning, I think everyone agrees that the U.S. economy is not growing fast enough.  If the pace of private sector job creation does not increase significantly, the real unemployment rate will remain unacceptably ‘high’ for many years.  Currently, there are nearly 14 million Americans who are unemployed.  Millions more have given up even looking for a job. 

“These families have already waited too long for the President to figure out that we cannot spend our way to prosperity and job growth.  Our experience over the last two years is clear – more government intervention fueled by more debt and higher taxes is not the answer. 

“In fact, the recent expansion in the size and cost of government is holding our economy back.  The federal government has grown so large it is casting a dark shadow over our recovery. 

“The American people know we are on an unsustainable path. 

“Among the urgent steps we need to take:

“We must cut spending and get the government out of the way and let the private sector do what it does best – invest and create jobs.

"We also must convince the President (in light of his unfocused energy address this week) to implement a national energy plan that includes increasing domestic supplies of all sources: oil, gas, nuclear, and yes, solar, wind and hydro.

“No source of energy, not oil, coal, or electric, can be relied on absolutely.  In order to provide security, both national and financial, we must diversify our supplies.  If one underperforms or cannot meet its production requirements, the effect on the energy supply is not as severe.

“Understanding the problem is the easy part, but solutions will not come quickly.  Now is the time to lay a foundation for energy independence.  There are steps we can take as a nation to decrease our dependence on foreign oil, find cleaner energy sources, and make more sources renewable.

“Creating private sector jobs and implementing a new American energy strategy will help us secure our children’s future.”

                             Rodney Frelinghuysen

Contradictions on Libya

Nine days after U.S. military action against Libyan strongman Muammar Gadhafi began, President Obama took to a stage at the National Defense University this week to explain his rationale for intervention in Libya’s ongoing civil war.

He described the brutality of the Gadhafi regime, the United States’ “interests” in the conflict, the “limited” nature of U.S. military involvement, and the role the “international community” would undertake in finishing the job in Libya and rebuilding the country.

While the speech answered some questions about the President’s current motivations in Libya, he left unanswered many key questions about the future of “Operation Odyssey Dawn”, now renamed “Operation United Protector”.

Recall Rodney’s question and answer exchange with the Secretary of Defense Gates a few weeks back at a hearing of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee.  “Congressman, a no-fly zone would be an act of war,” was his dismissive response to Rodney’s question about a possible “no-fly zone” over Libya.  So it would appear that President Obama now has a different definition of “war” than his own Secretary of Defense!?

But the contradictions in the President’s approach to Libya do not end there. 

Other examples:

  • The President has ordered the use of CIA personnel in Libya and U.S. military forces over Libya, a country where his own Secretary of Defense says there is no vital American interest;
  • The President says our forces are only enforcing a United Nations-ordered “no-fly zone”, but coalition forces are actively targeting Libyan ground troops.
  • The President said his mandate was to protect civilian lives, but he is actively siding with the rebellion.  In fact, pro-Gadhafi civilians are now casualties.
  • The President has praised the “legitimate aspirations of the Libyan people,” but some of the rebels are thought to have connections to al Qaeda and Hezbollah.
  • The President has said the not seeking “regime change” in Libya but believes that Muammar Gadhafi “has to go.”
  • The President has ordered that command and control of operations be handed over to NATO.  However, we are NATO! We pay most of its bills, championed its expansion in Eastern Europe, and assure its capabilities and the success of its missions. So, as NATO’s mainstay, we can somehow transfer our potential successes and misfires in Libya in coming weeks to other organization members???
  • The President said Operation Odyssey Dawn/United Protector would be limited to “days, not weeks,” but who knows???

The President is learning that his approach to Libya will not be clean, neat and executable like the “no fly zone” over the Balkans in the 1990s.

More Picatinny Help for our Warfighters in Afghanistan

Due to the efforts of scientists and engineers at Picatinny Arsenal, U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan have an effective new weapon in their fight against insurgents.  The Program Executive Office for Ammunition (PEO-Ammo) shipped the Accelerated Precision Mortar Initiative cartridges, or APMI, to a deployed Infantry Brigade Combat Team this month.

APMI is a 120 millimeter GPS-guided mortar cartridge that provides soldiers with precision-strike capability which they never had before.  This is particularly important in the fight against an enemy that regularly hides in and attacks from populated areas in the hope that coalition forces will not retaliate and risk accidental “collateral damage” to civilians. 

Standard mortars are fundamentally inaccurate, forcing soldiers to fire volleys to strike a target.  APMI allows soldiers to destroy a target with only one or two rounds.

PEO-Ammo will field the APMI cartridges to the seven other bridgade combat teams this summer.  Read more here.

Recommended Reading: Gwyneth Cravens, writing forBloomberg News and BusinessWeek,Nuclear Power Wins It Over Hydrocarbon Romance.”

View This: CBS EVENING NEWS Examines Yucca Mountain—“Shut Down, Locked Up, Caught Up in What Critics Charge is Nothing More than Pure Politics.” CBS Investigates White House Playing Politics with Yucca Mountain.

SOAR Act Soars

A few years ago, as Chairman of the then-Appropriations Subcommittee on the District of Columbia, Rodney was proud to lead the fight for a private school voucher program for students and families in Washington, D.C.  In 2004, he secured a victory for the first federally funded school choice program in nation.  Nearly 1,000 students from low-income families have been provided education vouchers.

Since 2009 the Obama administration has sought to phase the program out.

This week, the House passed H.R. 471, the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results (SOAR) Act, which would revive the vouchers.  Rodney is an original cosponsor of the bill.  “I am committed to working to provide parents with a choice in their child’s education,” he said. 

“Parents, teachers and students agree that school choice is essential to a successful education.  Students deserve access to the best schools, so they have the opportunity to thrive academically and the place to start is our nation’s capital.  Providing a good school environment for students means they will have a better chance to succeed and make our country stronger.  Through the SOAR Act, District families will once again have access to the best schools for their children.” 

Recommended Reading II:  Ready for the return of “cash for clunkers?”  Read Kerry Picket’s story in the Washington Times on Tuesday, “Cash for Clunkers 2: The Return of Government Motors.”

Personal News From Rodney

“A bit of personal news: I had hip surgery in New Jersey this week.  I am now on the mend and feeling well and will be using my recovery period to keep up on every major issue and assuring that constituent casework is vigorously pursued.”

Rodney Frelinghuysen